Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bread Bar


Everyone has their own kitchen quirks. I realized this the other day when my friends were talking about their eggs in the fridge. The discussion began after our friend Brooke posed the question, "Does anyone rearrange eggs in the carton or is that just me?" Turns out, she was the only one in our group but I know she can't be the only one who does it. But who knew? Seriously, I've known the girl for more than 20 years and had no idea! That's quirky.

Wait, I don't even keep my eggs in a carton...

I keep them in a big bowl in the fridge. Hmmm. Now, that's quirky.

And I always prep the coffee the night before. Always. I guess that's quirky too.

I'm telling you, kitchen quirks. Everyone's got them.



What do all these quirky habits have to do with a bread bar? Well, when it comes to weekend mornings, one of my favorite things to do is to relax on the couch with a nice cup of coffee. And thanks to my quirky kitchen habit of prepping it the night before, coffee is a cinch to make. Ah, I can hear the couch calling my name...

Oh wait. Breakfast! Now, I love to make pancakes and bacon and eggs or muffins or biscotti, especially on the weekends. But sometimes, I just want the coffee. On the couch. Mmmmm. That's where the bread bar comes in. It's such a fun and delicious breakfast but I literally can throw it together in 5 minutes. Patrick and Dallas both love it!



The Bread Bar can be whatever you want. I toast the bread and when it's nice and hot I rub a garlic clove over each piece. My mom used to make garlic toast like that all the time. Then comes the toppings: I always have avocados in the house. Smash one up and mix it with salt and olive oil. Chop up a tomato and add salt and olive oil. And make a dipping oil with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Put it all out the table and grab your coffee.

If you have a toddler maybe grab a napkin too... Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lemon-Almond Biscotti


What if someone asked you,
"Would you like a cookie for breakfast?"
You might have a confused look on your face. Sounds like a no-brainer. But for real, a cookie for breakfast? Definitely sounds like a trick.

But if you say, (in an Italian accent)
"Buongiorno! Vuoi biscotti per la colazione?"
Now that sounds delicious. Mmmmmm. 
Biscotti. Colazione.
Ah. Leave it to the Italians to make a cookie for breakfast sound so sophisticated.


But just because biscotti sounds like a sophisticated food doesn't mean you have to be fancy. Case in point- the photo above. What was it that Julia Child said? "If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always pick it up. Who's going to know?"

Except here it's: "You can always eat biscotti in the kitchen without pants on. Who's going to know?"

Hmmm, who's going to know? Your mother. With an iphone. Who will post it on a blog. 
Oh brother. I can't help myself. Just look at those curls!

Anyway, back to biscotti!
I'm always surprised when I meet someone who has no idea what it is. "Biscotti" translated into English is literally "Cookies" but they're so much more than that. They're these crumbly slices of goodness that are slightly sweet and they become the perfect consistency when you dunk them in coffee. Heaven.


I've tried lots of biscotti recipes. Some are too hard. Some are too dense. Some are too crumbly. These Lemon-Almond biscotti are just right. And instead of using only refined sugar, I use a combo of brown sugar, coconut sugar and raw cane sugar. Now I really don't feel guilty about a cookie for breakfast. This recipe makes a lot of biscotti, but they keep really well in an airtight container. I just stick them in a big cookie jar and they last for more than a week! Buon appetito!

Lemon-Almond Biscotti

This biscotti is soooo good! The cookies are baked twice. A lot of times I will do the first round of baking at night and finish it off in the morning. My family and friends love when I make this recipe because it makes a lot!

Makes 25 biscotti

1/3 cup sliced almonds
1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup raw cane sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ tablespoon of grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
3 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten-free baking flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 1/3 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the sliced almonds in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Stir almost constantly for 2-4 minutes, until the almonds are slightly toasted. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer place the butter, brown sugar, coconut sugar, and raw cane sugar. Mix on medium speed with a paddle attachment. Mix until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile crack two eggs and a separated egg yolk into a small bowl. Save the egg white for later. With the mixer on low, add the 2 whole eggs, the single egg yolk, the vanilla, almond extract, and the lemon zest.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry mixture slowly until just combined. Then add the toasted almonds until evenly distributed. Give it one big stir with a rubber spatula and then dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface.

Roll the dough into a ball and cut in half. Roll each piece into a log about 11 inches long by 2 inches wide. Place both logs a few inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet.

Beat the reserved egg white for about 15 seconds. Brush the logs with the egg white and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of raw cane sugar. Place the rest of the egg white in an airtight container in the fridge. Bake the logs for 45 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool for 45 minutes or overnight. (If you decide to bake in the morning, cover the logs with foil)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Slice the log in ½ inch thick slices at a slight angle. It will be quite crumbly, that’s ok! It helps to squeeze the log together with your hand as you slice. Place the slices on a sheet pan with parchment paper (it is ok to reuse the parchment from the first baking). Brush the slices with the reserved egg white. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until browned.

Biscotti will keep in an airtight container for a whole week. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sheet Pan Dinner: Chicken Sausage and Veggies


When was the last time you blew a bubble? Chances are it's been a while since you've done it. Unless you have a toddler. Then your answer to that question is probably "What do you mean? I'm blowing bubbles right now, duh."

Dallas LOVES bubbles. Seriously, the kid could sit outside and blow bubbles for hours and not get tired of it. We have bubbles in the bath tub, in the backyard, on the front porch, and even in my truck! And Dallas knows exactly where they are and how to get to them. So needless to say, we are always doing bubbles. But I really don't mind one little bit. He's soooo into it and he's so darn cute. How can I say no?


Look at those little bare feet and those adorable curls. Nope, I won't say no to bubbles. And I have to admit, bubbles are pretty cool. Especially in champagne.... Ahem. Anyway.
So what do bubbles have to do with a sheet pan dinner? The answer is EVERYTHING.

Here's the thing: all this afternoon bubble-blowing is enough to make anyone pretty hungry. And it's kind of hard to be babysitting something over the stove and do bubbles at the same time. That's why I have come to rely on sheet pan dinners a lot. It's brilliant! A whole dinner on one sheet pan. And the prep is totally simple - just chop up some veggies. I'll do it whenever I have a little time during the day, usually during Dallas's nap. But if you work during the day, prep the ingredients in the morning, put everything in zip lock bags, and just bake when you get home. So simple!

This recipe is very flexible. You can add whatever vegetables you want but these are my faves. I love how the sweet potato and carrots get slightly caramelized, the tomatoes become sweet, and the Brussels sprouts get crisp. Also, roasting green beans is a new revelation to me. Holy cow, they're so delicious. And feel free to use bone-in chicken breasts but I always go for the chicken sausage. It takes the easy factor up a notch. Just throw those bad boys on the top of the veggies, toss it all in the oven, and grab the bubbles.

Sheet Pan Dinner: Chicken Sausage and Veggies

1 small sweet potato, cut into 1½-inch long strips
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
½ pound green beans, trimmed
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound hot Italian chicken sausage

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the sweet potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beans, and tomatoes on a baking sheet (Careful not to overcrowd the vegetables, otherwise they will steam instead of roast). Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper to the vegetables and toss with your hands. Place the sausage links on top of the vegetables. Bake for 50 minutes, until the sausage is cooked through. Enjoy!

recipe courtesy: LaurenMarieGlutenFree.com

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup


There's no denying the versatility of a slow cooker. You can roast in it. You can cook in it. You can make mulled wine. I've even seen cake recipes for it. Just type in "slow cooker recipes" on pinterest and you may think a slow cooker will change your life!

But the truth is, the slow cooker and I haven't always been the best of friends.

Okay fine, I admit it. I am SCC... slow cooker challenged. I can make a French Apple Tart without a problem but the slow cooker? Forget it. I've tried recipes. I've tried just throwing in a bunch of things and seeing what happens. But something would always go wrong. It would taste weird or I would forget to turn it on (minor detail).

One time I tried a recipe from pinterest that promised me a delicious Tuscan soup with quinoa and chicken. What came out was "quinoa glue." Its was awful. That was the last straw! I completely gave up.

But when Dallas came along and a new house renovation was brewing, I needed that slow cooker versatility. I needed the old girl. This time I was determined to make it work. I stuck to the basics. After some trial and error, I finally found some recipes that I absolutely love! Now whenever I know I have a crazy day coming up, I just plan on making one of those. This Mexican Chicken Soup recipe is especially good. And the best part is that it's super easy to do. Just throw everything in and go about your day.

Or in this case, throw everything in, (turn it on), drink margaritas, and serve.

Happy Cinco de Mayo y'all!



Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup

4 small chicken breasts or 2 large chicken breasts
1½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1/3 cup salsa
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion (or ½ of a large one), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels

Topping Suggestions: (pick your favorites!)
sliced jalapeños
tortilla chips
 lime wedges
cilantro
sliced avocado
cheddar cheese
hot sauce
sour cream
sliced green onions

Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Sprinkle chili powder, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper over the chicken. Add the tomato paste or salsa, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and give it a quick stir.

Set the slow cooker on high for 5-6 hours. After it's done, use two forks to shred the chicken. Stir in corn kernels. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings, if necessary (I usually have to add another ½ teaspoon or so of salt). Serve with all the toppings you want. I especially recommend squeezing in some fresh lime juice and topping with cilantro. So delicious. Enjoy!

Suggested wine pairing: Margaritas!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

You there?

Oh good. I thought I lost you for a second there.

It's been a while I know. And I've missed you. I've missed this. So this is me starting again.

The past year and half has been amazing! And crazy. I mean who adopts a baby, buys a house, renovates it, and moves in during the holidays. We cray cray, y'all. But now that sweet "baby" is a year and a half (how did that happen???) and the house that was our "renovation project" feels like our home. Home. And that whole whirlwind year was absolutely worth every crazy moment.

So I want to take advantage of this brief moment of serenity to start blogging again before change comes, as it inevitably does.

Or before Dallas wakes up. That always happens too.

I am giving you fair warning though. You may notice a change in my writing. A change in my tone. Things may be a little messier. A little more casual. Because my kitchen is no longer just for testing recipes, it's the heart of our home. It's where I make my family's meals. It's where my friends and I get together to make chocolate bark for our best friend's baby shower. It's where my husband and I have our favorite kind of Friday night; eating a good home-cooked meal with a bottle of wine right on our kitchen island. It's where I bake cookies for a friend who's had a bad day. And it's where Dallas stands on his little white stool and helps me make pancakes every Saturday morning. And lets face it, sometimes you get pancake batter on the counter.

Or on the floor...

Sometimes in your hair...

So things are a little messier. A little more casual. But you know what?

I am just fine with that.












Friday, May 27, 2016

A [Gluten-Free] Memorial Day

Don't you love 3-day weekends?? And there's just something about Memorial Day. It's like the signal from the calendar that summer is here. Well, I guess at least here in Florida. Holy Cannoli, the 90 degree temperatures have already started! This weekend we don't plan on leaving the beach. Nope. You can't make us. So that's why I'm headed to the grocery store today to stock up on all the food we need for the weekend. I'm planning on keeping it simple and of course delicious. I've rounded up some of my favorite summer recipes for you. Just click the photo to get each recipe!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Cucumber-Dill Salmon Bites
Summer Corn and Tomatoes
The Perfect Arnold Palmer
Watermelon and Feta Salad

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies


Love,
Lauren Marie



All recipes courtesy of laurenmarieglutenfree.com


Monday, November 30, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Apple Pie Martini


This holiday recipe actually started on a warm July day last year. The girls in my family were celebrating my cousin Amanda's birthday at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa (love that place!). At the time, I was in the middle of working on my first holiday menu for Gluten-Free Living Magazine. And while the menu was really starting to take shape, I was totally stumped on cocktail ideas. To be honest, the only drink I could ever remember my family serving for Thanksgiving or Christmas was sangria. And even though my grandfather claimed it was a secret recipe, if you ever watched him make it you knew it was a different (delicious) concoction every time...


So I decided to get some opinions from the girls. I told them I wanted to do something fun. I was thinking sweet and maybe in a martini glass. Amanda immediately screamed "Apple Pie Martini!" WHOA. WHAT? YES. It was perfect! Who doesn't love apple pie?? I went home and started brainstorming on how I could get big apple pie flavor in a chilled martini glass. Then I brought in my secret weapon... my husband. Patrick is a very, very good cocktail maker. In fact, most of my drink recipes are a collaboration between the two of us. And don't worry, we keep testing until each recipe is perfect. Even if we have to taste-test three or four times. I know, it's a tough job really.... Trust me, you'll really enjoy this one. Thank you Amanda. Cheers everyone!



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My [Gluten-Free] Holiday Buffet


I'm so happy to finally be spilling the beans! My 2015 Gluten-Free Holiday Menu is published in Gluten-Free Living Magazine on newstands now! Want to know where you can buy one? Click here and scroll down. 

Want a sneak peek of what you'll find? Scroll down and check it out!






Psssst... Get these recipes right now on GFL's website:







These 11 recipes were a labor of love this past summer. 
I tested and tasted and tested again... until they were all perfect! 

I served many of these at this past year's Thanksgiving in July Party to give them all a good test run. They were a hit! I promise you these recipes are ones you can count on. 

So pick up a copy of Gluten-Free Living and get ready to impress your holiday guests!

And if you want my recipes from last year's menu in GFL,  just click here.


All photos are by the amazing Angela Sackett. Check out her awesome blog here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream (and a Baby!)


Oh hi there. Remember me? I know it's been a while. But you see, I've been just slightly distracted with the most amazing thing in world. Do you see what I'm holding in this photo? It's our son, Dallas! He's as cute as a button and growing like a weed. Patrick and I are so incredibly in love with our little guy! We started our adoption journey last December, not knowing what the future held for us. We had no idea that less than a year later we'd be holding our sweet son in our arms. We couldn't be happier!

So as you can imagine, things have been quite busy around here lately with "Big D." Trying to create a routine for a newborn is about as easy as herding cats sometimes - actually maybe more like trying to catch a seagull.... Oh and did I mention we are in the middle of adding on to our house?! All I have to say is thank God for coffee! 

photo by Angela Sackett

So, what does a new baby have to do with deliciously sweet Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream? Um.. EVERYTHING. The holidays are right around the corner. Sheesh! I can't believe how time flies. Now I want the holidays to be extra, extra special. But with Big D in our life, I have to use my kitchen time efficiently. Luckily, I've got some great holiday recipes that I can depend on and I want to share them with you! They are ridiculously delicious and strategically designed to keep you out of the kitchen when in counts. 

Like my pumpkin pie ice cream. Mmmmmm. Just the sound of it is delicious, right? And trust me, people go crazy for it! This was a very fun recipe to test. Patrick and I ate quite a few batches of it...for uh, research purposes... Oh man, it's divine. It's like biting into a big piece of homemade pumpkin pie. Try it, you won't regret it. It's definitely on my list to make for this year's Thanksgiving dessert table!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Raspberry Lime Spritzer



Last Thursday, I found myself in a situation that I have never been in before... I was in a grocery store shopping for a non-food item. This was totally uncharted territory for me. Frankly, it was weirding me out. How did I get in such a predicament, you ask. Well, it all started when I was on my way home from the gym. I was actually thinking to myself how nice it was that I didn't need to make my normal grocery store pit stop since I had dinner waiting for us in the fridge (homemade chicken soup!). But then it hit me... we desperately needed trash bags. Oh brother, looks like I was going to make the pit stop whether I liked it or not.


Luckily, there's a grocery store on the way to my house. I pulled in, parked, and thought to myself, "Okay, just trash bags. Nothing else." (If you follow me on instagram, you already know where this is going...) So there I was in the "household products" aisle when all of a sudden I thought, "Raspberry-Lime Spritzer." Seriously, it just popped into my head. I have no idea where it came from. I've never even had a raspberry-lime spritzer!

But I knew I had to have it.


Before I knew it, I was at the cash register with the weirdest purchase ever: trash bags, frozen raspberries, and limes. I raced home and whipped up the easiest Raspberry-Lime Spritzer! It totally satisfied my craving. But to be honest, posting the recipe wasn't even on my radar until I made it for Patrick the next night. He absolutely fell in love with it! When I saw his reaction to the delicious drink, I just had to share it with you. Also, I must confess to you that I have made this recipe three times since Thursday. Sure I might be crazy, but it's that good.

And you know what they say, one man's trash bags is another mans spritzer!

Or something like that... Cheers!